On the Way to Connected Production - Industry 4.0 at Hannover Messe

The future of production is connected and digital. On that everyone agreed at the Hannover Fair. Few buzzwords can have gone the rounds more often than Industry 4.0 at the Hannover trade fair ground last week. Industry 4.0 means the comprehensive networking of classical manufacturing industry to map all production processes virtually and to manage and control them dynamically. Visitors to the Telekom booth could see what that means for the design of a value chain.


In keeping with the “next steps” motto Telekom presented in Remote Equipment Management a market-ready universal solution for remote management of machinery and equipment. Thanks to this solution the maintenance team knows inter alia whether an on-site callout is required and if so, which tools and spare parts the technicians need to take with them for the repair job. Until recently, solutions of this kind were unaffordable for small and midrange businesses in particular, but now the market offers all-inclusive solutions for a monthly fixed price per machine (Opex) so that heavy up-front investment is no longer a barrier to entering the world of connected production.

Connected production has also reached the wheat field. A solution developed jointly by Deutsche Telekom and the agricultural machinery manufacturer CLAAS helps farmers to coordinate the harvest. Until now, harvesters have had to work their way across the field accompanied by a tractor. The harvest then landed directly on the tractor’s trailer. If the trailer was full, the combine harvester used its own grain tank as a temporary storage facility. Now, the tractor waits at the edge of the field and drives over just in time to empty the harvester’s grain tank. That saves the farmer fuel and does less damage to his soil. The harvester also uses sensors to record the quality of the yield and relays this information to the silo operator via the mobile network.


Esperanto for Machines


Uniform interfaces and standards are most important if additional machines are to be incorporated in the harvesting or production process. Telekom’s M2M Device Cloud converts device-specific data into a device-independent format – a kind of Esperanto for machines, with specially developed software, the so-called agent, performing the role of a translator. It can be installed locally on the device or implemented on the server. The agent ensures that the device can communicate free of barriers with the cloud platform. It transfers all device information and measurements to the platform’s device-independent data model.



The first steps on the way to Industry 4.0 have been taken. The vision of totally connected production in cross-industry projects must now be realized. German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel championed this cause in her opening speed at the Hannover Fair. “Harmonize, be curious about what lies ahead, and don’t be too attached to your individual industries of old,” she said. By the next Hannover Fair at the latest we will know whether her appeal has borne fruit.

Tags: Industry 4.0 , Remote Equipment Management , M2M Device Cloud , Industrial Internet , Hannover Messe , Machine Maintenance , Agriculture

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